Third Annual Vail Mardi Gras Returns Feb. 25-28

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February 15, 2006

Vail, CO - (News Release) - Vail Mountain and the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau (VVCTB) have partnered to throw the country's largest Mardi Gras celebration above 8,000 feet, Feb. 25-28. The third annual Vail Mardi Gras event will include a masquerade bar crawl, the "World's Highest Low Country Crawfish Boil," a Mardi Gras themed après party, a "Taste of New Orleans" restaurant dine-around and finally, a Fat Tuesday parade with the crowning of the Vail Mardi Gras King and Queen.

"The Vail Mardi Gras celebration certainly has additional meaning this year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans last fall," said Meggen Bernstein, Vail Senior Brand Marketing Manager for Vail Mountain. "We have invited a New Orleans family, displaced by the hurricane, to be our guests throughout the festivities and proceeds from the Taste of New Orleans restaurant event will be donated to them."

The Ruli family's New Orleans home had flood water up to the gutters for over two weeks following Hurricane Katrina. Some of the only items the family salvaged from their flooded house were Mardi Gras beads that were stored in the attic. The Ruli family will be hosted by Vail Resorts throughout the Vail Mardi Gras festivities and they will be throwing out their salvaged beads during the Fat Tuesday Parade as honorary parade marshals. A fund has been set up at Alpine Bank for the Ruli family and all donations made through March 1 will be given to the family.

Vail Mardi Gras events begin on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a masquerade bar crawl in Vail Village. Commemorative event cups will be handed out at participating bars throughout the evening and drink specials will be offered. On Sunday, Feb. 26 the festivities continue with the "World's Highest Low Country Crawfish Boil" at Eagles Nest on Vail Mountain. Local band Laughing Bones will provide entertainment and authentic crawfish and gumbo will be served at 10,350 feet. Following the crawfish boil a Mardi Gras après party will be hosted at participating bars in LionsHead.

Vail Mardi Gras continues Monday, Feb. 27, and Tuesday, Feb. 28, with the inaugural "Taste of New Orleans" restaurant dine-around event. Participating Vail Village & LionsHead restaurants will offer special New Orleans inspired menu items. A portion of the proceeds from participating restaurants throughout the two-day event will be donated to the Ruli Family.

This year's events will culminate with the Fat Tuesday parade, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. The parade will travel from the International Bridge to Seibert Circle in Vail Village. Locals and visitors alike are invited to come out and watch the parade. Festivities following the Fat Tuesday parade will include: the Vail King & Queen of Mardi Gras crowning, a King Cake eating contest, parade float award winner announcements and additional family-friendly entertainment.

The community is invited to participate in Vail Mardi Gras this year. Families, businesses and youth are encouraged to put together mini- floats using red wagons or big wheel bicycles. Pets will also be welcomed in the parade this year. Float entry forms are now available through the VVCTB by calling 477-4024. Prizes will be awarded to the Best Youth and Best Merchant floats.

Another way to participate in this year's festivities is to vote for your favorite nominated couple in the King & Queen of Vail Mardi Gras contest. Voting will take place through the Vail Daily's online poll. Nominees for this year's King & Queen are: Resort Information & Activities Center employee Barb Harris and Yellow Jacket Bobby Cox from Vail Mountain, Officer Mark Zaloudek and Records Technician Ashley Bell from the Town of Vail, Matt Carroll from Double Diamond Ski Shop and Lynette Miscio from the Flying Burrito, and Mark Bricklin and Cassie Pence from the Vail Daily. Watch for updated results each day in the Daily and go online to cast your vote.

2006 Vail Marrdi Gras Calendar of Events
Saturday, February 25
8:00 p.m. Masquerade Bar Crawl, Bridge "Bourbon" Street, Vail Village
Sunday, February 26
12:00-2:30 p.m. World's Highest Low Country Crawfish Boil with music by Laughing Bones, Eagle's Nest
3:00-6:00 p.m. Mardi Gras Après, LionsHead
Monday, February 27
Taste of New Orleans, Vail Village and LionsHead restaurantsFat Tuesday, February 28
5:30 p.m. Fat Tuesday Parade & Festivities, International Bridge to Seibert Circle, Vail Village
Taste of New Orleans, Vail Village and LionsHead restaurants

Special Vail Mardi Gras lodging and vacation packages are available now. Lodging is available from $142 per person, based on double occupancy in a 1-bedroom condo. A Mid Week Ski and Stay travel package is available from $481 per person. Package includes three nights lodging and three days skiing Feb. 26-29 and is based on quad occupancy in a 2-bedroom condo with a Sunday or Monday arrival and skiing Monday through Thursday only. Call 1-866-VAIL-SKI or visit to book your getaway for this year's Vail Mardi Gras.

For more information on 2006 Vail Mardi Gras please contact 476-9090 or visit Vail Mardi Gras is sponsored by Vail Mountain, VVCTB, Coors, Volvo and the Vail Daily.